Professor Emeritus Eiler Henrickson ’43 Passes Away

10 December 2009

It is with heavy hearts that we in the Geology Department report that Professor Emeritus Eiler Henrickson ’43  passed away this morning.  Several of his children and family members were by his side.

Eiler’s funeral service was held Friday morning, Dec. 18, 2009, at the First United Church of Christ (UCC) in Northfield.  The schedule for the service includes visitation from 9 to 11 a.m. at the church, the service at 11:00 a.m., and then a light luncheon following the service.

We will be making up a picture board or slide show of pictures of Eiler doing the geology and wrestling that he loved.  If you have a classic Eiler picture we might be able to use, please mail it or email it to Tim Vick or Ellen Haboroth.  Email to me can be done with a reply to this email; my email is and Ellen’s email is  Our mail address is Carleton Geology Dept., 1 N. College St., Northfield, MN  55057.

Also, we will hold a special memorial service on campus to celebrate Eiler in conjunction with alumni reunion in June.  That is tentatively scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Friday, June 18, 2010.  We hope to join many of you there.


Eiler Henrickson, age 89 of Northfield, passed away Thursday, December 10, 2009 under the wonderful care and support of the staff of Three Links CareCenter. Funeral Services will be 11am Friday, December 18th at the First United Church of Christ in Northfield with burial at the Oaklawn Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday from 9 am until the time of Services at the Church.

Eiler Leonard (Lenhard) Henrickson was born April 23, 1920 in Crosby, Minnesota to Eiler Clarence Henrickson and Mabel M. (Bacon) Henrickson, the third of nine children. Eiler grew up in Deerwood, MN and graduated from Crosby-Ironton High School. He came to Carleton College in Northfield, MN as a freshman in 1939. Following his graduation from Carleton in 1943, Eiler served in the U.S. Army and was a member of Eisenhower’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, as well as working with the U.S. Geological Survey. In 1946, he returned to the Carleton Geology Department, where he was to remain for 41 years, teaching, serving as department chairman, and emphasizing and implementing field trips for students as an integral part of their education. Annual student field trips to Alaska, Eiler’s favorite place, were one of these accomplishments.

His 1949 discovery in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, of the first uranium in the United States outside the Colorado Plateau made the front pages of newspapers all over the world. When this occurred, he was exploring for a steel company which had a contract with the Atomic Energy Commission. It was also at this time and place that Eiler discovered his first wife, Anita (Swanson) Henrickson. Eiler and Anita were married 25 years and this union produced four children: Eiler Warren (Ike), Kristin Louise, Kurt Eric and Ann Elizabeth. In the 1960’s Eiler traveled to Greece with his family, there working with Argonne National Laboratory’s “Copper Project” to trace artifacts back to their geological sources and thus recreate ancient trade routes. During this period, he traveled to 15 European countries and lectured at 23 colleges and universities.

However, Eiler’s career at Carleton was not all science. He was a three-sport, nine-letter athlete as an undergraduate. Henrickson was both captain and twelve-year coach of the wrestling squad, played football and ran track. He was undefeated in dual wrestling meets at Carleton and in tryouts for the Olympic team. In 1957, with Eiler’s coaching guidance, Carleton won the Midwest Conference Championship, beating nationally ranked Cornell College for their first conference defeat in 26 years. He was called back to coach the 1975 season and again in 1984, at the age of 63. Eiler was elected to the Carleton College “C” Club Hall of Fame in its first such ceremony and in 1986 was named to the Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Upon retirement from Carleton in 1987, Eiler moved to Colorado Springs, CO where he was Chairman of the Geology Department at Colorado College for an additional ten years. He then returned to Northfield, where he lived the remainder of his life.

Eiler is survived by his four children: Eiler “Ike” Henrickson and Kristin (Jonathon) Graff of Austin, MN, Kurt Henrickson and Ann (Lon) Rossow of Northfield. Brothers: Everett (Lina) Henrickson, Graceville, FL and Richard (Janice) Henrickson, Isle, MN. Sisters: Ramona Mohs and Mabel Spengler, St. Cloud, MN and Marian (Allen) Fox, Twin Bridges, MT. Grandchildren: Reidun, John, Rachel and Lindsay Henrickson, Katherine (Katie) Rasmussen, Jeremy, Christopher and Megan Rossow, Matthew and Nathan Graff. Great-grandchildren: Evan and Gabriella Graff; his very special friend, Patricia Forsyth, as well as many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was preceded in death by his Father: Eiler Clarence Henrickson, Mother: Mabel M. (Bacon) Henrickson, Brothers: Norman and Phillip Henrickson and Sister: Lorraine Lundgren.

There will be a memorial service held at 10 am June 18, 2010 at Skinner Chapel, Carleton College for Eiler during Alumni Reunion week. There will also be a Henrickson family memorial service in Deerwood, MN, July, 2010.

Arrangements by the Bierman Funeral Home of Northfield